This project is part of Lorraine - University of Excellence (LUE) and its program dedicated to hydrogen "Université de Lorraine Hydrogen Science and technology (ULHyS)". This PhD will provide a rare opportunity for a highly motivated student to study all the steps from the preparation of innovative electrode formulations for PEMFC fuel cells to their testing in an operating fuel cell.
The high cost of platinum-based catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells (FCs) along with the sluggish kinetics of the cathodic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) hinders the widespread commercialization of FC. Moreover, the scarcity of platinum would never make it possible the current worldwide car fleet with such FCs.
The first objective of this thesis project is developing high-performance platinum-free catalyst for ORR based on porous carbon materials doped with of N, B and Fe, among others. These heteroatoms break the electroneutrality, improve the electrocatalytic durability and enhance the ORR activity of the carbon materials by 1.5−1.6 times. The work proposed is based on two preliminary studies published by the IJL team in the international journal ACS Catalysis [1,2] (impact factor 10.6) and will benefit of existing collaborations with Prof. Bandosz (The City College of NY, USA) and with Prof. Francisco Carrasco Marín (Universidad de Granada, Spain). It will also be based on brand new results developed by the team; which obtained catalysts whose electrochemical characteristics perfectly overlap with those of platinum deposited on carbon black (not published).
The second objective is optimizing the formulation of platinum-free electrode inks in order to make reproducible membrane electrodes assemblies (MEAs) and then testing them in a home-made fuel cell for PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell) or AEMFC (Anion Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell). A spray coating bench will be used for depositing electrodes layers. Few consortia have the possibility of preparing, characterizing and testing small- and medium-sized ORR electrodes in FCs. The combined experience of IJL-Epinal on the preparation of carbon materials and small-scale electrochemical testing, combined with the experience of LEMTA-Nancy in MEA characterization and testing in instrumented fuel cell, will allow to go further in the rapid development of alternatives to platinum-based electrodes, which is recognized as a major bottleneck in the reduction of the cost of the PEM fuel cells core technology.
Fully equipped laboratories, hot scientific topic, financing assured for 3 years.
The candidate must be ranked in the first quarter of his or her promotion, and must have an overall average of 14/20 in his or her written master's exams. Any application of candidates who does not meet these MINIMUM requirements will not be considered.
Pre-selection of the best applications (the best 10% only, weak candidates abstain), interview by videoconference then official presentation in front of the laboratory for the final selection. Finally, approval by the Doctoral School.
The candidate will join two research teams specialized in materials sciences on the one hand, and in fuel cells on the other hand: the “Biosourced materials” team of the Institut Jean Lamour (IJL, UMR CNRS 7198), hosted on the premises of ENSTIB in Epinal, and the “Energies Vectors” group, in Hydrogen and electrochemical systems team of the Laboratory of Energies and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (LEMTA, UMR CNRS 7563), hosted on the premises of ENSEM in Nancy.
Supervision will alternate between the two sites, according to the degree of progress of the work and the needs of a particular scientific equipment. It will be complementary in terms of skills in the synthesis and characterization of carbonaceous materials in compliance with given specifications, and in the implementation of such materials under real operating conditions and the study of the performance of the overall system.
The candidate will first work in the "Biosourced Materials" team, where he/she will immediately be trained in the synthesis of carbonaceous materials, preferably derived from naturally occurring resins (formulation, pyrolysis and graphitation, surface functionalization), then in the many characterization techniques required for the studies envisaged (elemental analysis, specific surface area and porosity, thermal conductivity, mechanical properties, polarized light and atomic force microscopy, wettability and surface energy, etc.). All the equipment necessary for the synthesis and characterization of carbonaceous materials and for the study of their application as heat exchangers is available at the IJL-Epinal.
Once a number of materials have been tested and identified as effective as electrocatalysts for catalytic oxygen reduction at the IJL, inks will be formulated and applied in a real, lab-scale fuel cell, where their performance will be evaluated at the LEMTA.
The proposed work therefore consists of studying the electrocatalytic performance of porous platinum-free carbons at different scales, both in an ideal reactor on the one hand and in a real PEMFC/AEMFC-type system on the other hand. This PhD will provide a unique opportunity for a highly motivated student to study all the steps from the preparation of innovative ions exchange membrane fuel cell electrode formulations to their testing in a working fuel cell.
REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL
Chemistry: Master Degree or equivalent
Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
The candidate will have to complete on a priority basis training in solid-state chemistry or materials science, but knowledge about fuel cells, electrochemical systems or catalysis will be particularly appreciated. The candidate will have to demonstrate natural ease and effectiveness with modern analytical techniques on which he/she will be trained to become rapidly independent, and especially will have to go deeper into the involved physicochemical aspects (pyrolysis, doping, conductivity, permeation and diffusion, catalysis, oxygen reduction, etc.). He/she will have to be dynamic, curious and perseverant to realize the multiple synthesis, characterizations, testing and interpretations of the results, and prove to be able of team working in two distinct scientific environments.
EXCELLENT knowledge of English (oral and written) is important and knowledge of French would be an advantage.
Constraints and risks
The position you are applying for is located in a sector relating to the protection of scientific and technical potential. It therefore requires, in accordance with the regulations, that your arrival be authorized by the competent authority of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.Mehr
|Titel||PhD Thesis in the Development of platinum-free cathodes for hydrogen fuel cells|
|Employer||Lorraine Université d'Excellence (LUE)|
|Job location||34 Cours Léopold, 54000 Nancy|
|Veröffentlicht||September 23, 2021|
|Bewerbungsschluss||November 15, 2021|
|Jobart||PhD/ Doktorand/in  |
|Fachbereiche||Werkstofftechnik,   Materialchemie,   Katalyse,   Elektrochemie,   Anorganische Chemie,   Physikalische Chemie,   Festkörperchemie,   Oberflächenchemie  |